Since I was a young kid, sports have been my life. The Blackhawks, Bears and White Sox. At one point, the Bulls, but even my fandom draws the line with that atrocity. Sports have been everything. The highs are incredible. Watching your team win it all is an unmatched feeling.
But what they fail to tell you is that when you dance with the devil and become a die-hard fan, the lows are nearly insufferable. Watching your team fail is brutal. Watching a rival win a championship is every bit of deflating.
The Blues won the Stanley Cup Wednesday night in game seven, and this is just miserable. They were always the Hawks little brother. The team that got pushed around. The team that always fell on their face. Not anymore. The jokes are dead. So is the fun.
This feeling rivals that of the Cubs winning the World Series. That was the worst day of my sports fan life. I don’t imagine much could top it. I was too young to realize the magnitude of the Bears losing the Super Bowl in 2006. Which is good, because no kid deserves pain like that.
Some people don’t get it and they never will. “It’s just a game,” they’ll utter back as you mope around. Anyone who says that just doesn’t get it. It’s not just a game. For some, it’s a lifestyle.
When Cody Parkey double doinked last year, the emptiness crept back in. I hadn’t felt heartbreak like that since Alec Martinez’s overtime game-winner in game seven of the 2014 Western Conference Final eliminated the Blackhawks.
Agony. These images still play over and over in my mind. Victory in sight. Jubilation about to take place, only to have it ripped from your hands. There’s no medication for that ailment. Alcohol doesn’t even do it.
Those are tough. Watching teams you despise win it all might be even worse. The Packers in 2011. The Cubs in 2016. And now, the frickin’ St. Louis Blues. You never really even imagine these things, because you put them so far out of your mind. When they hit, it’s almost surreal.
As I write this, it’s almost difficult to find the words. A non-sports fan won’t understand. A casual one won’t either. A casual one will wake up tomorrow and not put another thought into the matter. A die-hard is going to wake up and pray that what they just watched was just a bad dream.
The lows come more than the highs. Maybe that’s a good thing. If anything, it teaches you that life has a tendency to kick you in the ass. Sports are an escape we all run to, yet it breaks us more than anything else. It’s a shame.
A simple answer would be to stop watching. Sure, but that’s easier said than done. We’ll be right back tomorrow ready to get hurt again. That’s what we do. We’re weird like that. We’re emotionally unhealthy like that. Sports are the worst. But they’re also the best. Ride the highs and try to survive the lows, that’s all you can do.
Featured Photo: Steve Lundy/Daily Herald